Glossary – Italy

  1. Accommodations

    Umfulana uses guesthouses, B&Bs and small, privately owned hotels. Breakfast is usually included in the price of the room. It is common practice to leave the room in the morning so it can be cleaned.

  2. Arrival

    You can approach Italy by Air, Rail, Car and Ferry.

    Italy’s numerous islands are connected to the mainland by a dense network of ferries. During the main season seats need to be booked early. Ferries to Sardinia and Sicily depart from Genoa, Livorno and Naples (among other places). For information on routes visit

  3. Bargains

    Be wary of “bargains” that appear too good to be true: the purchase of counterfeit goods bearing fake brand names is illegal and subject to large fines.

  4. Breakdown/accident

    An emergency telephone number will be included in the documents you receive from Avis. Emergency phone calls can be made free of charge from any public telephone. Emergency phone numbers are:

    Police: 113
    Medical emergency: 112
    Italian Automobile Club (ACI):
    800 116 800 (in case of breakdown)

  5. Cash

    ATMs are widely available. All common international credit cards are accepted. Be careful not to select donazioni or donatio, which means “donation”. It’s best to look for an ATM with English instructions.

    We recommend keeping the receipts after paying for shopping items or meals in restaurants.

  6. Check-In

    The check-in time is normally between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. unless otherwise stated in your travel documents. Earlier arrival can be arranged with your hosts. Please notify your hosts if you will be arriving after 8 p.m.

  7. City Taxes

    Some cities and municipalities in Italy have introduced a tax on overnight stays (city tax). The amounts range from 0.50 euros to 5 euros per night per person. Unfortunately, the tax may not be transferred together with the costs of accommodation and is therefore due to be paid cash directly at the hotel.

  8. Climate

    Italy has a Mediterranean climate with mild winters and hot, dry summers. The farther south you go, the warmer the climate. Some warm clothing should be included on trips taken between October and mid-May.

  9. Directions

    Although brief directions are included in your travel documents, we recommend buying a good road atlas.

  10. Drivers License

    A valid drivers license, issued at least one year before the tour is required. An international driving license is required for all customers who are not resident in the European Union.

  11. Driving

    Headlights must be turned on at all times when driving on roadways outside of city limits.

    Speed limits:
    Within city limits: 50 km/h (30 mph)
    On expressways: 130 km/h (80 mph)
    On highways: 110km/h (70 mph)

    Most highways (autostrada) in Italy are toll roads (peddagio). The charge can be paid in cash, by credit card or by Viacard, a special card that can be purchased for travel on toll ways. Viacards can be purchased at most service areas along the motorways for 20, 50 or 75 euros and are a good way to avoid long lines at the tollgates. Expressways (superstrade) are toll-free.

    Parking: When visiting the historical city centers you should park outside of the old city walls. Vehicle traffic in many (historic) downtown areas of cities and towns throughout Italy is limited by a system of permits (called “ZTL” and functioning the same way as an EasyPass system in the United States might on the freeway). Cameras record the license plates of cars driving in parts of the city that require a permit. Some of these cities are: Bologna, Florence, Milan, Rome, Arezzo, Pisa and Verona.

    When looking for a parking space always observe the markings along the side of the street. White stripes mean parking is allowed free of charge, blue stripes mean parking is allowed for a fee, and yellow and black strips mean parking is prohibited.

    All passengers must wear seatbelts in Italy, including passengers in the backseat.

    A driver whose blood alcohol level exceeds 0.5 will be considered legally intoxicated.

  12. Electricity

    Most outlets in Italy are 220 volt, although you will occasionally find 110-125 volt outlets. Most
    appliances will require adapters, which can be purchased at airports and locally.

  13. Fuel

    The main choices are super senza (super unleaded, can be used in all cars that burn regular gas) and gasolio (diesel). It is important to note that gasolio does not mean “gasoline”. Filling stations farther removed from the main motorways tend to be closed over the noon hour.

  14. Health insurance

    Check to make sure your health insurance covers travel abroad. If not, you would be wise to take out travel insurance.

  15. Smoking

    Smoking is prohibited in all public buildings, offices and restaurants. It is permitted outdoors and in designated areas.

  16. Stamps

    Stamps can be purchased in all post offices and kiosks (indicated by a “T” for “tobacco”).

  17. Time zone

    Italy is located in the Central European Time Zone. European Summer Time is used between the end of March and the end of October, meaning clocks are moved forward an hour during that period.

    Time differences:
    UK: - 1 hour
    East coast: - 6 hours
    West coast: - 9 hours

  18. Tipping

    A cover fee called coperto is added to restaurant checks. Nevertheless, it is common to leave a few extra euros as a tip, depending on the service. Always request a receipt (ricevuta fiscale) after paying for a meal.

  19. Using the telephone

    Most public phones require telephone cards, which can be purchased at tabacci shops. The perforated corner of the card must be torn off before use.

    Country codes for calls placed from Italy:
    UK: 00 44 + phone number
    USA/Canada: 00 1 + phone number

    Country codes for placing calls to Italy:
    UK: 00 39 + phone number
    USA/Canada: 011 39 + phone number

  20. Weights and measures

    Long distances are measured in kilometers in Italy. A kilometer equals about 2/3 mile.

    Shorter distances are measured in meters. A meter is 3.28 feet (1.09 yards).

    Weights are measured in kilos. One kilo equals 2.20 pounds.